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perspective
horizon line
drawing paper
different perspectives
art world
flat surface
Perspective Drawing
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Perspective Drawing

“You gotta get a perspective on things!” We have heard it all before … "pull it together!" … "get a grip!" Such comments apply to everyday life and living. They refer to just one of many types of perspectives.

If a teacher holds a single object up before a room of 30 students, you will have 30 different opinions about that very same object -- this indicates yet another type of perspective.

In the visual arts world, perspective is the art of showing depth or distance on a flat surface. It is the art of making a 2-dimensional (2D) drawing appear 3-dimensional (3D). Perspective techniques can show miles into the distance on a flat piece of paper.

The concept of perspective developed during the Renaissance period. If you look at old drawings or paintings done before the 14th century, you will see how "off" their interpretation of distance appears. They show an unrealistic skewing of objects and distances.

Artists before the 1400s had no concept of perspective. If perspective in a drawing is technically correct, objects near you are larger and clearer and become smaller and smaller as distance increases.

Within the art-world alone there are many kinds of perspectives -- one-point, two-point, and three-point perspective, for example. In one-point perspective, everything vanishes at one point on the horizon line. In two-point, everything disappears at 2 points on the horizon line.

Creating a perspective drawing is great entertainment if you have the proper materials. The cost of doing a perspective drawing is practically zero. What you need is drawing paper, a ruler, a pencil and an eraser. That is all.

To create a one-point-perspective drawing start by drawing the horizon line on your paper. The horizon line is a horizontal line across the page, from left to right or right to left. The horizon line is an imaginary line and in your drawing, it indicates a separation between sky and earth.

Measure half way across the horizon line and put a small dot in the middle. That is your vanishing point for a one-point-perspective drawing. All the lines of your drawing will disappear at the one vanishing point.

For a two-point-perspective drawing, the vanishing points go at either end of the horizon line, on the edges of your paper. All the lines of your drawing will disappear at those two vanishing points, in this case. See the image above.

Now you have a general perspective on perspective drawing. Perspective drawing is about your 'view' of things. Understanding perspective gives you the ability to recreate accurate views of the world. Try it -- you'll like it.


Street Talk

Leonardo2  

Great article Lewis...perespective is really a skill to learn and develope...there are a lot of methods to make the projections. The two methods you have presented are good foundations for learning and understanding perspective drawings. cheers!

Reply
  about 3 years ago

Thank you!

Reply
  about 3 years ago

I love art talk. Vantage Point is another one you can use metaphorically. Very nice piece and sparked some things I haven't thought of in a while! Thanks Lewis! "Perspective"- Peter Gabriel (YT it, its a good one)

Reply
  about 4 years ago

Hey Jumpin,' thanks for the heads-up on Peter Gabriel. Great lyrics.

Reply
  about 4 years ago
Kymee  

I have to say that high school was not my favorite part of my life but art class was. I do remember the day I learned all of this and it changed things for me. It was something I was fascinated with, thanks for bringing great memories back. God bless Kymee

Reply
  about 4 years ago

Thank you, Kymee! I always appreciate your comments.

Reply
  about 4 years ago

Lewis, I can't get on to my dashboard...how do you get on?

Reply
  about 4 years ago

At the very top of the Street Articles page, where it says "logged in," right next to it is a "dashboard" selection. Just click on that. Hope that helps.

Reply
  about 4 years ago

i studied stage design at brown and one of the disciplines we had to master was drawing in perspective - ah - the vanishing point

Reply
  about 4 years ago

Cool, Stephen! Sounds like it was an awesome experience for you ... and a challenge :)

Reply
  about 4 years ago
Joan S  

You bring it all back. I went to RISD, and Freshman year we had a course called projection drawing. We learned perspective, and made 3-D models. It was important to know, but I preferred the less mechanical courses. This is a great foundation, however. Every artist should know about perspective.

Reply
  about 4 years ago

Thanks, Joan! I spent years and years teaching 1 and 2 point perspective. Would love to see pics of your 3D models!

Reply
  about 4 years ago
Joan S  

They're long gone Lewis. That was years ago.

  
  about 4 years ago
Sherry B.  

Great article on perspective drawing. It has been years since I've done any of those! Thanks for the refresher!

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Sorry this is so late but thank you for your comment, Sherry.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Very interesting. I had not thought about everything involved in a drawing. Of course there are certain skills which one may perfect that has little to do with natural talent. I always learn something from your articles. Thanks for writing.

Reply
  about 5 years ago

Thank you Jackelyn, You are so right about the differences between natural talent and acquired skill. It is an interesting thought.

Reply
  about 5 years ago
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